In the old days, having healthy skin may seem like what women wanted but as time goes by, both men and women, boys and girls want to have healthy skin. A healthy skin can make a person look good and young. Healthy skin is more than just what makes a person attractive. A healthy skin means the skin is able to fight against infections and to protect a person from danger such as injury to the skin. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have healthy skin and a person may have other skin issues making them to be more careful when taking care of their skin. In this DoctorOnCall’s article, we will be learning about psoriasis and treatment options.
Psoriasis is a skin disease characterised by the speed up of skin cells growth cycle. It is part of autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a disease that is caused when the immune system mistakenly thinks cells in the body as an enemy and attacks it. In case of psoriasis, the overactive immune system speeds up the skin cell growth. In normal skin cells, skin grows and shed in a month but in psoriasis, the skin does this in only 3 to 7 days. However, instead of shedding, psoriasis led to the skin cells pile up on the surface of the skin.
It is not known the exact cause for psoriasis. The only cause that is suggested by researchers is the dysfunction of the immune system itself. This led to the inflammation of the skin. Psoriasis can run in the families but there is no evidence that genetics does cause psoriasis to be inherited. Many people with psoriasis find that their symptoms get worse when there is a trigger such as injury to the skin, infections, medicines and a stressful event. Symptoms can occur at any age but often in early adulthood.
The common sign of psoriasis is the dry, thick and raised patches of skin known as plaque. The patches are often covered with a scale that is seen as a silvery-white coating. In darker skin tones, the patches may be seen as brown or purplish with grey scales. The patches are usually itchy and painful, at times it cracks and bleeds. Fingernails or toenails may be affected leading to the discolouration and pitting of the nails. The nails may also detach. Common sites for psoriasis include elbow, knee and scalp. Plaques and scales may appear on any part of the body. 80 to 90% people have psoriasis with this type of plaque psoriasis.
Remember that psoriasis can cause inflammation of the skin? It may also affect other organs and tissues of the body. This is known as psoriatic arthritis. Common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints and areas surrounding the joints. It is estimated that 10 to 30% of people with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis. Other types of psoriasis such as guttate psoriasis is common in children or young children that have had infection such as throat infection. Guttate psoriasis is presented with tiny bumps appearing on the skin with scale and often clear in a few weeks or months without treatments. There are other type of psoriasis such as pustular psoriasis that causes pus-filled bumps and erythrodermic psoriasis that makes the skin on most of the body look burnt.
Since psoriasis can cause great misery, it is important for treatment to provide relief and some peace of mind. Treatments depend on the type of psoriasis and severity of the condition. Hence, to answer what is the best treatment for psoriasis is quite difficult. The best treatment available that can help treat arthritis is biologic medicines such as infliximab. The downside of this best medicine is it is expensive and, in most cases, conventional medicine such as methotrexate and cyclosporine are preferred to help treat psoriasis especially in severe cases. Topical treatment such as topical corticosteroid is the first treatment used in most cases. Phototherapy treatment such as ultraviolet or PUVA may be used in certain severe cases.
In essence, the best treatment may not be for everyone as the price may not do its justice. Hence, treatment available must be utilised and used properly. It is worth noting that there is no cure for psoriasis and even biologic medicines can only reduce to 70 percent of the disease. Beside using medications, patients with psoriasis need to make sure they always take care of their skin by using moisturiser frequently and making sure their fingernail and toenail is short so that they would not scratch their skin with sharp nails. Keeping the skin moisturised can help reduce itchiness resulting from the dry skin. Patients must also learn to take control of their stress so that it would not trigger the psoriasis to become worse. Patients need to understand that psoriasis is a life-long condition which means treatment can help improve their condition and their quality of life but never to the extent of eliminating the disease.
Also read – Dengue Prevention.